Friday, July 7, 2017


The Maputo City Court on Thursday sentenced eight of the nine people charged with stealing 36 million meticais (about 1.2 million US dollars, at the exchange rate of the time) from the Army Command, between 2010 and 2015, to prison terms of between 10 and 16 years.
They must also compensate the state to the tune of 40 millon meticais.
Judge Salomao Manhica handed down the longest jail terms, 16 years, to Ernesto Rufino and Abdul Ismael. Rufino and Ismael were the key figures in the theft. They worked in the wages sector of the Army Command. They put the names of friends and relatives on the wages sheets so that every month money to which they were not entitled would be deposited in their accounts. Rufino and Ismael used the disreputable defence that they were only carrying out orders. They claimed the corrupt scheme had been designed by the immediate superior, Alberto Martinho, who kept 60 per cent of the stolen money for himself.
Imagem relacionadaBut Martinho died in 2014, and the corrupt scheme continued after that date. In any case, army officers have the right and the duty not to obey illegal orders given by their superiors.

Guilhermina Pedro and Hussene Ismael (the brother of Abdul Ismael) were sentenced to 15 years, Anibal Joaquim and Monica Simiao to 11 years, Sonia Cossa to 11 years and six months, and Elsa Antonio to ten years.These were mostly relatives and lovers of Rufino and Ismael who allowed the stolen money to be deposited in their accounts. Their defence was that they did not know where the money that mysteriously appeared in their accounts had come from. The prosecution regarded this as no justification at all – for there is nothing normal about citizens handing over control of their personal bank accounts, and their bank credit or debit cards, to others.The court acquitted one of the accused, Sara Agostinho, because there was no convincing evidence that she had personally benefitted from the stolen money.

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